Michael (Miguel) A. Gayoso, 69, of Port St. Lucie, Fla., passed away, after living the American dream, on Thursday, October 26, 2017 in Baxter Springs, Kan.

Michael was born in Havana, Cuba to Miguel and Estrella (Godinez) Gayoso on May 31, 1948. At the age of 13, he and his younger sister, Rosalinda, came to the United States as part of Operation Peter Pan while their parents were forced to remain in Cuba. Operation Peter Pan was a mass exodus where over 14,000 Cuban children came to the United States between 1960 and 1962.

After living in upstate New York with relatives, Michael and Rosalinda went to live in Miami, Florida where years later, their mother and father were able to leave communist Cuba and enter the United States to reunite with their children. In 1969, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Miami. That same year, on September 5, he married the love of his life, Yoly (Hernandez) Gayoso in Montevideo, Uruguay. After the wedding, the young couple returned to Miami, Florida and he began working at a CPA firm.

In 1972, he began his career in the utilities industry at Florida Power and Light as a supervisor accountant. In 1980, he moved his family to Beaumont, Texas where he worked at Gulf States Utilities as director of analytical studies and technical accounting. Another job opportunity arose, and in 1982 he began working at the Illinois Commerce Commission in Chicago as its chief auditor. In 1984, he began working at KG&E and over time became chief financial officer at Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation. He completed the reactor technology program for utility executives at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994, and obtained his master in business administration from Baker University in 1996. He retired in 2013 from Omaha Public Power District in Omaha, Neb. He loved speaking of Cuban history, politics and spending time with his grandchildren.

Michael is survived and will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 48 years, Yoly, and children, Yolanda and her husband Lawrence Nordling of Roeland Park, Kan., Michael and his wife Candace (Brewster) Gayoso of Baxter Springs, Kan., and Olga and her husband Thaddeus Wood of Kansas City; six grandchildren Garrett, Beatrice, Joseph, Zach, Sophia and Ella; and his sister Rosalinda Gayoso Wright of Tallahassee, Fla., and her daughters Jessica, Desiree and Nichole.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Miguel and Estrella.

Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, November 2, 2017 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 324 E. 12th St., Baxter Springs, Kan., with Fathers Ned Blick, Joseph Eckberg and Jeremy Huser as Celebrants. Burial will follow at the Baxter Springs City Cemetery. A Rosary will be prayed at 5 p.m., Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at Derfelt’s Baxter Chapel, 328 E. 12th St., Baxter Springs, Kan. The family will receive friends following the Rosary. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the St. Joseph’s Altar Society can be made. These can be left at the church or at Derfelt’s Baxter Chapel. Online condolences can be expressed at www.derfeltfuneralhomes.com.